Hurricane Season and How Hurricanes Effect Our Environment; Part II

Introduction:

As explained in Part I, hurricanes and tropical storms can be detrimental to the environment and can cause severe damage to storage tank facilities and other containers. In this part, we will focus on damage prevention and control for other facilities, such as grocery stores.

Power and Spoilage:

Hurricanes and other major storms are notorious for damaging or destroying powerlines, transformers, and other components essential to providing electricity to an area. This is due to the high wind and heavy rain which are common with these storms. It is important to have back-up power (such as a generator) prepared in-case power goes out during one of these storms. Generally, it is a good idea to buy or obtain a back-up generator long before a severe storm such as a hurricane arrives, as many stores tend to run out of generators and other supplies if a hurricane is expected to impact the area, since many people wait until the last minute to buy them.  

If one is unable to obtain a generator, use it properly, or experience other issues leading to extended periods of time without power, spoiled goods may be the outcome. This is common especially in grocery stores since they` tend to have more perishable items such as eggs, milk, etc.

Some tips to keep in mind for spoiled goods cleanup include:

  • Accounting for the goods which were lost (accounting for spoiled goods can be very important for an insurance claim or for other company functions)
  • Proper disposal of the spoiled goods (taking proper precautions for disposing of spoiled/ damaged goods after a storm is very important as this cleanup can be dangerous)
  • Properly secure roll-off containers with spoiled goods.  Looters may be drawn to these containers, which could lead to potential liability is someone becomes ill.
  • Disinfecting and cleaning where the spoiled goods were being kept (clean up can end up happening days or sometimes even weeks after a storm has passed… this can lead to mold and other damage to where the goods were being kept)
  • Call a professional if necessary. Cleaning up after a major storm can be dangerous especially if you do not know what you’re doing. Even if you think you know what to do after a storm, it is a much safer to hire a professional to do it for you.

Security:

Security is very important to have after a hurricane or tropical storm, since security systems require electricity to operate. Having a security team at one’s facility during and after a major storm can help to prevent this looting and the potential for lawsuits which come with it.

Clearing Stormwater Systems:

Clearing stormwater systems both before and after a major storm is extremely important. These stormwater systems are in place to help prevent flooding, and if they are even partially clogged major flooding can result. The stormwater drains are also generally placed at the lowest part of an area for water to flow to the drain which is why flooding can occur very quickly. The picture shown was taken at the home of an HES employee a couple of hours after a typical thunderstorm. The water was “higher than the sloped road and was flowing into adjacent yard when the drain since the drain was clogged. This example shows just how quickly and severely flooding can occur if stormwater systems are not properly maintained.

Building Damage:

High winds and flooding can lead to structural and non-structural damage to buildings. In-house maintenance teams may be able to address minor damage.   But major damage may require outside resources.   Having resources available for repairing water damage, damaged roofs, etc. beforehand can result in faster repairs and avoid price gouging situations.

Conclusion:

Preparation is vital before, during, and after a major storm, such as a hurricane. Taking the proper precautions could help to prevent major damage to your facility or the materials inside your facility.

Contact Us:

Highlands Environmental Solutions, Inc. is available to assist with storm preparation and general environmental compliance.  We are ready to respond should an environmental incident occur. Contact us at 1-855-437-3278.

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